Safety and OSHA News

Plant manager sentenced to prison for safety and environmental violations

Although the Occupational Safety and Health Act doesn’t include provisions for criminal penalties, prosecutors will use environmental law to send managers to jail for violations.

A judge has sentenced former Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co. plant manager John Prisque to 70 months in federal prison in connection with safety and environmental violations at the facility.

Prisque, the company and three other managers were convicted of engaging in conspiracy to pollute the Delaware River, expose employees to dangerous conditions and impede federal investigations. The company and three other managers will be sentenced later this week according to the Express-Times.

Among Prisque’s safety violations, he:

  • instructed an employee to lie to OSHA about a safety shield that had been changed after an incident in which a worker lost an eye and suffered a fractured skull when a saw blade broke
  • concealed facts from OSHA about a forklift fatality
  • instructed an injured worker to tell OSHA he didn’t break his leg in a forklift accident, and
  • concealed from OSHA that an emergency shutdown device on the plant’s cement mixer had been bypassed, which led to the amputation of three of a worker’s fingers.

Prisque was also found guilty of allowing oil waste to be pumped into a storm drain that created an 8.5-mile slick on the Delaware River and of burning waste paint in the plant’s main furnace.

Atlantic States is a subsidiary of McWane, Inc.

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  1. I hope the guy serves every bit of that sentence. I feel so sorry for the employees that work at that place. Hopefully they can get in a new Plant Manager that can make some positive changes.

  2. Here we go again! OSHA is doing enough? Well is a big issue to find people like this persons doing the wrong thing, against the workers and also the results is only few months to be in jail.
    This a criminal act against society and against workers. The reason, because did not care!! could be because they are very negligent at they part to hire a responsible person to instruct employees and also to let it know to some managers, the negligent to do the job. Fines cost more in the long run compare to hire a professional person to help with hazradous waste and with all the regulations to be in compliance, training courses are part of todays business to minimize the problems. Shall be doing again and again, every time something like this happen, some people still doing again and again… and perhaps never end. Could be reasons to do this acts? I do not agree with positive attitudes in some people calling “Managers”!.

  3. As a safety supervisor you read stuff like the first two paragraphs and it panics your heart. We try so hard to be compliant. In many cases darn the cost do it right. Then you get to the forth paragraph and think HOLLY COW these guys really do need to go to jail (if these are the real facts). I guess I am not so bad after all. I have only 1 relatively minor injury in 10 years. KNOCK ON WOOD!!!

  4. This makes you step back and evaluate your program. Although I sometimes have issues trying to get people to see the big picture I should also give more credit. Thankfully I work for a company that places emphasis on safe work practices and not production above all but it hasn’t always been that way. This type of article just shows that the old school mentality that I was raised on still exists and we have to work hard to prevent this from becoming us.

  5. SH&E Mangers listen up: its time to get real and document all your findings and management’s corrective actions or lack thereof—- and/or call OSHA yourself.

    So much for the ‘good ‘ole boys’ now, eh?

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